Pork Bao Buns are Cantonese savoury rolls filled with pork. The rolls can be baked or steamed; the baked ones come out golden-brown and shiny; the steamed ones white and slightly rubbery.
The recipe starts with barbequed pork, cubed small. It is stir-fried with some other ingredients in a glaze which may include soy sauce, hoisin sauce, sugar, and oyster sauce.
Yeast-risen dough is rolled out and cut into pieces. Each piece is then rolled out to be about 3 inches (7.5 cm) round to make a dumpling wrapper. Two tablespoons of the pork filling is placed in the centre of each wrapping. The edges of the wrapper are gathered up in the centre, then twisted and pinched to seal them together. The buns are then let rest for an hour for the dough to rise again.
They are then steamed for 10 to 12 minutes, or baked for 20 minutes. If baked, they are brushed with a wash made from beaten egg yolk, water and sugar.
Pork Bao Buns freeze well. To use, thaw, then steam for 10 minutes.
Literature & Lore
The movie “God of Gamblers III: Back to Shanghai ” (by Wong Jing, 1991) has a pork bun musical sequence set in a restaurant with the following song:
Who loves pork buns most?
Who loves freshly baked pork buns
And lotus buns, lard buns, shark fin buns
Smashed bean buns, Guangdong buns
If you don’t like Guangdong buns
Then try the Shanghai buns
They’ve also steamed bread, pork buns
Little steamed bread vegetable buns
My friend which one would you taste
No matter which one you will taste
Guangdong buns, Shanghai buns
Some like Guangdong buns
When steamed, Pork Bao Buns are called “char-siu-bao” in Chinese. When baked, they are called “chà sìu bàau” in Chinese, which translates to English as “Baked Roast Pork Bun.”